Police have arrested a man on suspicion of murder after a hit-and-run driver ploughed into crowds at a popular Los Angeles boardwalk, killing an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injuring 11 others.
Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, was arrested after he walked into a police station in neighbouring Santa Monica about two hours after the incident and told police that he was involved.
Mr Campbell, of Los Angeles, remained jailed Sunday on $1 million bail.
Kirk Albanese, deputy chief of police, declined to discuss a motive but said there was no indication that the attack was a terrorist act or that anyone else was involved.
Security video taken at Venice Beach boardwalk showed a man parking a black car, stepping out and surveying the leisurely scene for several minutes before getting back into the vehicle and speeding into the crowd. Hundreds of people who had been walking or sitting at cafés raced to get out of the way before the vehicle sped out of sight.
The Italian woman was identified as Alice Gruppioni, 32. Her family in Bologna told the Italian news agency LaPresse that she had been on her honeymoon after a July 20 wedding.
Ms Gruppioni worked as a manager for the family business Sira group, which makes radiators. Her father, Valerio Gruppioni, runs the company and was formerly president of the Bologna soccer team, according to LaPresse.
Authorities said another person was critically injured. Two others were in serious condition, and eight suffered less serious injuries.
Witnesses reported a horrifying scene.
People were “stumbling around, blood dripping down their legs, looking confused not knowing what had happened, people screaming,” said Louisa Hodge, who described “blocks and blocks of people just strewn across the sidewalk.”
The crash was not far from the scene where an elderly driver sped through an open-air farmer’s market in Santa Monica in 2003, killing 10 people and injuring more than 70 others.
Investigators said George Weller, who was 86 at the time, mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake and then panicked. Weller was convicted of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and was sentenced to probation.
It was not clear how fast the car in Saturday’s crash was going.
According to security video and witness accounts, the driver parked next to the Cadillac Hotel and twice walked out to the boardwalk before getting into the Dodge Avenger and accelerating, swerving around yellow poles meant to prevent cars from getting into the pedestrian-only area and onto the boardwalk.
“I heard a big 'boom, boom,’ like the sound of someone going up and down the curb, it was super loud,” said Alex Hagan, 22, who was working on the reception desk at the Cadillac Hotel and watched the scene unfold from the start.
The driver knocked over two mannequins and then started hitting people, swerving from side to side and often running straight into them.
Video showed the car hitting at least three vendors who were sitting at their sales booths.
Golestan Alipour, a bartender at Candle Cafe & Grill, said the large sedan carefully manoeuvred between a storefront and metal poles that had been erected to prevent anyone from driving onto the boardwalk. A free-standing cash machine barely slowed his race toward the crowds.
“The restaurant was full. Everybody ran,” Mr Alipour said.
The car went on for several blocks, knocking down a fortune teller who had a table on the boardwalk, a couple selling jewellery and a woman who tattoos people, Mr Alipour said.
Authorities at the scene searched for evidence across the boardwalk, which is in a part of Los Angeles known for eccentricities.
The 1.5-mile ribbon of asphalt that runs along the sand a few hundred yards from the ocean is home to galleries, restaurants, tattoo shops, skateboard parks and the famous outdoor weight room known as Muscle Beach. It can draw as many as 150,000 people on summer weekends.